New Delhi: Sourav Ganguly has criticized the Indian team’s selection policy and the top-heavy nature of the batting line-up during the post-match analysis of the third ODI which England won comfortably by 8 wickets on Tuesday.
Speaking in the show aired by the host broadcasters, Ganguly along with Harsha Bhogle and ex-England spinner Graeme Swann did a post-mortem of the 3-match ODI series which the hosts won 2-1. The former India skipper highlighted how India needed to give KL Rahul a consistent run of matches batting at number 4.
When asked who his pick would be at number 4, Ganguly said: “Eyes closed, it’s KL Rahul at 4. Your top 4 have to be your best players and you’ve got to persist with them. Go and speak to KL Rahul and say, ‘I’ll give you 15 games. Just go and play.’
In the past three years, India does not have a successful run-chase of over 150 in ODIs if at least one of the top 3 did not score a half century, and Ganguly suggested that India’s overreliance on the top 3 was a problem. “It’s a big issue, something that India will have to sort out. You have to have quality, England has quality."
Dinesh Karthik played for India at number 4 at Headingley, scoring 21 off 22 balls before being bowled by Adil Rashid. Ganguly said that Karthik’s position was better down the order: “Dhoni, Raina, Karthik — very good at 5, 6, 7. India need to find a number 4. I think two of your best batsmen are not being looked after properly. I’m not saying it’s deliberate. Maybe it’s a mistake, maybe when you look at things from the other side you look at it differently. But it’s my opinion, from this side of the ground, (either) of those two (KL Rahul or Ajinkya Rahane) have to play at 4 because it’s too much pressure for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
“In South Africa (the team) won because Kohli got 3 hundreds in 6 games. Currently, if Kohli doesn’t get a hundred, you’ll find it difficult to win matches."
Ganguly also said that he “didn’t understand" why Umesh Yadav was not selected at Headingley. Additionally, when he was asked about whether the team needed to look at options beyond Suresh Raina who was dismissed for one run by Adil Rashid, he said: “With all due respect, I think there are better players around."
Ganguly also unreservedly praised England for their performance in the match and the series, highlighting key decisions that were made by captain Eoin Morgan. “India bowled poorly, England bowled much better. Lot of credit to Eoin Morgan, made two super decisions in two important matches. One at Lord’s batting first, put the pressure back on India and read the conditions superbly, and this morning as well, we raised eyebrows on both occasions and he actually proved us wrong." Finally, Ganguly said: “By no means am I saying this is a bad Indian side. When Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma play well, they look great. When they don’t play well, they look a bit different."